1959-60 NBA Season
Never before, and never again, would a rookie have such an impact on the NBA. In the statistical categories. In ticket sales. In team standings.
At 7-1 and nearly 275 pounds, Wilt Chamberlain towered over the centers of his time. In his rookie season with the Philadelphia Warriors, Chamberlain won both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors, leading the league in scoring (37.6) and rebounding (27.0). Chamberlain scored 50 or more points seven times. The Warriors had gone 32-40 the previous season but with Chamberlain they improved to 49-26.
Not surprisingly, Wilt’s Warriors attracted capacity crowds just about everywhere they went. Even so, the Celtics shook off this challenge and kept winning, this time an NBA-record 59 games and the Eastern Division. St. Louis won the West by 16 games in what was now a 75-game season. Boston defeated the Warriors and Chamberlain in six games to advance to the Finals. St. Louis was pushed to seven games by the Lakers before moving on to meet the Celtics.
With Red Auerbach at the controls, Boston had built a dynasty piece by piece, beginning with Cousy in 1950, adding Bill Sharman in 1951, Frank Ramsey in 1954, Jim Loscutoff in 1955, and Tom Heinsohn and Bill Russell in 1956.
But after the first championship in 1957, the Celtics didn’t stop adding winners. Sam Jones came aboard in 1957, K.C. Jones and Gene Conley in 1958. They all had a hand in title number three. The Celtics and Hawks split the first six games of the championship series, but Boston easily won Game 7 at home 122-103 as Russell starred with 22 points and 35 rebounds.